Looking for more information on how to do PHP the right way? Check out PHP: The Right Way

Davey Shafik:
An Exceptional Change in PHP 7.0
Jul 31, 2015 @ 09:55:37

Davey Shafik has a post today that talks about an exceptional change to PHP 7.0 and some updates that have been made to provide more of a hierarchy (a different one) that can make them easier to work with.

With PHP 7 errors and exceptions are undergoing major changes. For the first time, the PHP engine will start to emit exceptions instead of standard PHP errors for (previously) fatal, and catchable fatal errors. This means that we can now handle them much more gracefully with try... catch. But with this change, comes a whole new exception hierarchy.

He provides a tree of the error/exception relationships, what they inherit from and who their "children" are. He also talks more in detail about the "error" type exceptions: Error, AssertionError, ParseError and TypeError. He gets into more detail about catchable fatal errors and the userland handling of the Throwable type and extension.

tagged: exception change php7 throwable error exception tree parent child

Link: http://daveyshafik.com/archives/69237-an-exceptional-change-in-php-7-0.html

Community News:
PEAR 1.10.0dev1 brings PHP 7 compatibility!
Jul 28, 2015 @ 12:14:42

As was announced on both the PEAR blog and Christian Weiske's blog, the PEAR project has made a major update to add PHP7 support preparing it for the upcoming major release.

The new PEAR installer release adds PHP 7 support while dropping support for PHP 4 - 5.3. It also fixes a nasty SSL issue that made it hard to use on PHP 5.6. With the update, strict warnings about static calls to a non-static PEAR::isError() are a thing of the past.

I've just published the first preview version: PEAR 1.10.0dev1.

Upgrading your version of the PEAR installer is as simple as a call to pear upgrade specifying this dev1 release (command is included in the post). He also links to some pre-release versions of the go-pear and pear-nozlib installers.

tagged: pear php7 compatibility dev1 installer upgrade command

Link: http://cweiske.de/tagebuch/pear-1.10.0dev1.htm

Remi Collet:
New "remi-php70" repository
Jul 24, 2015 @ 12:09:05

Remi has announced the release of the remi-php7 repo, available for Fedora ≥ 21 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 6.

Current version is PHP 7.0.0beta2 with about 25 extensions which are already compatible. This repository provides development versions which are not suitable for production usage. [...] As for other remi's repositories, it is disabled by default, so the update is an administrator choice.

This repository can be installed just like other similar remi repos via the "yum" command to add the repository to the list of available ones, then another to upgrade the PHP installation.

tagged: php7 remi repository available package yum install beta2

Link: http://blog.remirepo.net/post/2015/07/24/New-remi-php70-repository

Lorna Mitchell:
Test Your PHP Application on PHP 7
Jul 24, 2015 @ 09:06:53

Lorna Mitchell has a post to her site showing you how to get a PHP7 setup and working so you can test out your current application, preparing it for this next major version's release.

PHP 7 is coming, which is nice, but what does it mean for the majority of PHP developers? PHP as a community is notoriously slow in adoption, some of us are still waiting for 2012's new shiny to be available as standard on our hosting platforms. However with the performance benefits and a few really nice new features, PHP 7 is well worth everyone's attention, and it's actually quite easy to get started so here's my quick howto.

The large part of the post is the steps you'll need to get the php7dev box (from Rasmus Lerdorf) up and running, complete with a shared folder mounted from your local machine and a custom Nginx configuration. She also mentions the "Go PHP7" initiative that's aiming to help make the transition to PHP7 as easy as possible for everyone (including various extensions).

tagged: test application php7 php7dev vm virtualmachine setup configure

Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2015/test-your-php-application-on-php-7

Community News:
PHP 7.0.0 Beta 2 Tagged
Jul 23, 2015 @ 08:45:27

According to this post on Reddit.com (and this NEWS file update) the latest beta of PHP 7.0.0, beta 2, has officially been tagged.

Fixes include updates in several different areas of the codebase:

  • Curl
  • GD (graphics handling)
  • Opcache
  • SOAP
  • the SPL (Standard PHP Library, with MutlitpleIterator)

You can find out more about all of the bugs that were fixed (including a sneak peek at what's coming in beta 3) in the NEWS file.

tagged: language php7 tag beta release version

Link: https://github.com/php/php-src/blob/master/NEWS

Digital Ocean Blog:
Getting Ready for PHP 7
Jul 16, 2015 @ 12:31:48

The Digital Ocean blog has posted a guide to help you get ready for PHP7, the next major release of the PHP language. There's a lot of new functionality and changes coming with the release along with plenty of performance and consistency improvements.

2015 has been an important year for PHP. Eleven years after its 5.0 release, a new major version is finally coming our way! PHP 7 is scheduled for release before the end of the year, bringing many new language features and an impressive performance boost. But how this will impact your current PHP codebase? What really changed? How safe is it to update? This post will answer these questions and give you a taste of what’s to come with PHP 7.

They start with a brief look at some of the overall performance improvements PHP7 will introduce and a few things to watch out for that may break with the upgrade (like deprecated features and engine exceptions). From there they get into some of the new language features:

  • New operators (spaceship, null coalesce)
  • Scalar type hinting
  • Return type hinting

They each have brief code examples showing how they'd be put to use but there's also links to other resources with more information if you need them.

tagged: introduction php7 prepare changes deprecate update performance

Link: https://www.digitalocean.com/company/blog/getting-ready-for-php-7/

Amasty.com:
PHP 7 and script languages future: insights from lead Zend.com developer
Jul 13, 2015 @ 11:21:02

The Amasty.com site has posted an article featuring an interview with Dmitry Stogov about his background and the next major release of PHP - PHP 7.

PHP is used on 81.9% of websites all over the world and has celebrated its 20th birthday some time ago. We talked to the PHP 7 lead developer and Zend Technologies Chief Performance Engineer – Dmitry Stogov. He spoke about the newest trends in PHP development and the world of script languages.

He answers questions about:

  • How and why he started coding
  • Why he chose PHP and ended up at Zend
  • The work he's contributed to PHP and more specifically PHP7

This includes the work done on the PHPNG performance improvements for the language that was integrated into the main codebase. He talks about some of the testing and development hurdles they had to overcome and what the most important features are to an end user. They also talk some about the future of PHP, it's overall perception in programming communities and some of the features he finds best in modern PHP development. They end the post asking Dmitry about some of his own interests and any advice he can give to more junior developers.

tagged: dmitrystogoy interview php7 phpng performance background features language

Link: https://blog.amasty.com/php-7-and-script-languages-future-insights-from-lead-zend-com-developer/

Davey Shafik:
Class Constants, How Do They Work? (Or: You Learn Something New Every Day...)
Jul 09, 2015 @ 08:24:43

Davey Shafik has posted a quick article to his site talking about class constants and something new he learned about them (and how it relates to the uniform variable syntax handling in PHP7).

Yesterday on Twitter there was a conversation started by Marco Pivetta regarding a particularly horrible bit of code he had spotted [that] creates a string using sprintf() by prefixing ::PARAMNAME with the result of calling get_class() on the $api variable, and then passes that string into constant() which will give you the value of a constant using it’s string name.

The conversation continued with comments from Elizabeth Smith about why this workaround was needed in the past. Davey also suggests that it won't work as expected if the input is an object and not a string but a test from Trevor Suarez proved that incorrect as well (it does work). He ends the post talking about PHP7 and showing how, thanks to the uniform variable syntax changes, this same kind of handling can be done in many other ways too.

tagged: class constant php7 uniform variable synatx getclass object string

Link: http://daveyshafik.com/archives/69193-class-constants-how-do-they-work-or-you-learn-something-new-every-day.html

Paragon Initiative:
How to Safely Generate Random Strings and Integers in PHP
Jul 08, 2015 @ 12:49:51

The Paragon Initiative blog has posted a guide to what they see as a way to safely generate random strings and integers in PHP applications.

Generating useful random data is a fairly common task for a developer to implement, but also one that developers rarely get right. [...] It's generally not okay to use a weak random number generator unless both of the following two conditions are met: the security of your application does not depend in any way on the value you generate being unpredictable or there is no requirement for each value to be unique (up to a reasonable probability).

He gives some examples of places where it's a must to use a "cryptographically secure pseudo-random number generator" including generating random passwords, encryption keys or IVs for data in CBC mode. The article goes on to talk about some of the problems that could come from using weak generators. It then gets into the process for generating random values and the use of the random_* functions in PHP (or using this polyfill) to more safely generate the numbers. Included is code showing the process and some advice around converting random bytes to both strings and integers.

tagged: safe generation random string integer php7 randomcompat security

Link: https://paragonie.com/blog/2015/07/how-safely-generate-random-strings-and-integers-in-php

Lorna Mitchell:
PHP 7 Benchmarks
Jul 06, 2015 @ 12:42:55

Lorna Mitchell has posted some preliminary PHP7 benchmarks from the current alpha release (alpha2). Good news - it's fast....very fast.

If you know anything at all about PHP7, you probably know it's fast. But did you know how fast? The alpha is out and looks very robust, so I decided I would create a new set of benchmarks to include it. Graphs first, disclaimers later :)

This graph shows the time it takes for each version of PHP to perform the same task, on average, with oldest PHP on the left and moving forward in time. [..] The benchmark is the Zend/bench.php that lives in the PHP sourcecode (run ten times for each version of PHP using the php7dev VM on an average laptop, and then the mean result for each version calculated). The script runs through a series of taxing algorithms, giving a sense of how quickly a series of computational instructions can be executed.

She also talks briefly about how this can effect more real-world applications, how realistic it is to upgrade from older installs (much less painful on 5.5 or 5.6) and some things you can do to help improve PHP7 for everyone. This includes testing, working on bugs and adding extensions to this list to ensure they're made PHP7 compatible.

tagged: php7 benchmark fast realworld help testing bugfix extension

Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2015/php-7-benchmarks